Move over Siri and Alexa, there may be a new voice assistant in town soon. Word is that Facebook is working on its own voice assistant to compete with Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and the Google Assistant.
Facebook’s division that works on long-term tech projects and hardware based in Redmond, Washington, has been working on the project since 2018. And it’s probably near completion.
Still, Facebook’s new assistant will have an uphill battle to take over the market. Amazon and Google dominate the smart speaker market with 67 percent and 30 percent shares in the U.S. in 2018, respectively, according to eMarketer.
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While there has been no explanation as to how Facebook intends for people to use the assistant, but observers speculate that it may be used with the company’s Portal video chat smart speakers, the Oculus headsets, or other future projects.
This isn’t Facebook’s first attempt to enter the voice assistant market.
“In 2015, Facebook released an AI assistant for its Messenger app called M. It was supposed to help users with smart suggestions, but the project depended heavily on the help of humans and never gained traction. Facebook killed the project last year,” CNBC reported.
However, in November, Facebook started selling its Portal video chat device, which allows users to place video calls using Facebook Messenger. All users have to do is to say “Hey Portal” to begin. It can only do very simple commands so the device also comes equipped with Amazon’s Alexa assistant to handle more complex tasks.